Timor-Leste or the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste is situated in the north of Australia and south of Indonesia, comprising the eastern portion of the Timor island, the neighboring islands of Atauro, Jaco, and Oecusse.

In 1999, Indonesia took control of the country which caused about 300,000 people to move out of the country. Indonesian troupes have also put almost 70% of Timor’s economic infrastructure to no purpose. On May 20, 2002, the country gained its independence from Indonesia and since then, Timor-Leste has worked on rebuilding its infrastructure, enhancing its government administration, and providing employment for the younger workforce. While the oil and gas resources industry has relatively increased the nation’s income, it hasn’t done much to improve the unemployment rate because of the lack of production facilities.

Timor-Leste has strongly recovered from an economic downturn that was caused by the civil conflicts and violence in 2006. In 2009 and 2010, the country’s government spending has grown dramatically, focusing on its basic infrastructures such as electricity and road improvement.

A territory of Portugal from the 16th century until November 28, 1975, the island nation had long been using the Portuguese Timorese pataca for its economic transactions. The Banco Nacional Ultramarino or the National Overseas Bank was the issuing institution of pataca banknotes.

The country was invaded by the Japanese during the Second World War. Even with the help of Portugal, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands East Indies, and Australia, the Japanese forces were still victorious. Consequently, the pataca was replaced with the Netherlands Indies gulden and the roepiah. The gulden and roepiah were in use until September 5, 1945, when Japan finally surrendered. The pataca became the national currency again until the introduction of the Timorese escudo in 1958.

 In 1959, the National Overseas Bank issued banknotes bearing the emblem of the Portuguese Empire and a portrait of Jose Celestino da Silva, a Portuguese army officer who served as the governor and colonial administrator of Portuguese Timor. The banknotes were also signed by the bank governor, Francisco Jose Vieira Machado. Meanwhile, the 1963 banknote issues of the Timorese escudo carried a portrait of Regulo D. Aleixo, a Portuguese hero who was better known as King Dom Aleixo Corte-Real. To date, the country is using the US dollar as its official currency.

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